Week 10 brings a couple of exciting changes to the fantasy football scene. First, we have the return of Thursday night football, which is great for us, the people of fantasy. By the time Thursday rolls around, I’m usually done with my adds/drops and have already filled out my 47th FanDuel lineup, so the Thursday night matchup is a nice way to wet my football whistle before the weekend rolls around. In addition to the return of Thursday night football, we have league trade deadlines quickly approaching. No matter where your team currently resides in the standing, there are still moves to be made as this critical deadline approaches. This week, we will take a look at what moves should be made, from four different vantage points: commish, top dogs, middle men, and the stragglers. Get out a pen and paper (or copy/paste works just fine) and take some notes, because these are the last moves your squad needs to make…and I promise that this article contains no mention of the words “Penn” or “State.” Let’s get to work.

Top Dogs (9-0, 8-1, 7-2 records): If you fall into this category, I hope you’re enjoying Fred Jackson, Matt Forte, and Darren Sproles. As a front runner in your league, you most likely do not have a lot to worry about. Obviously, this is a great situation to be in, but you should still be actively looking to improve your chances for success in the playoffs. Take some time to scroll through the rosters in your league and look players who may be a week or two away from a return from injury. Take advantage of the impressive record that you worked so hard to build, and use your cushion in the standings to make your team a fantasy playoff monster.

Try this: Find out which teams have Andre Johnson and Darren McFadden. If the teams holding onto these players are in a battle for a playoff spot, they likely would welcome some immediate help. A 4-5 team cannot afford to hold onto Andre Johnson through week 10 and his week 11 bye, when they are desperate need of wins. Offer up a solid wide receiver and a lower level running back in exchange for Johnson or DMC. Don’t attempt to low ball the other team too much in this situation, go ahead and throw out Brandon Marshall or Stevie Johnson. Scoring 10 points below your season average in weeks 10 and 11 will be well worth the terrifying team you will roll out when it’s playoff time.

Middle Men (6-3, 5-4, 4-5 records): If your team resides in “middle men” territory, you need to focus on grabbing every possible win for the remaining four regular season weeks. Make getting into the playoffs your top priority, and worry about playoff matchups and strategy once you gain admittance to the party. Be sure to analyze the matchups of your players and potential trade targets for weeks 10-13, and keep an eye on players who have that sneaky week 11 bye. If your team is loaded with Steelers and Saints, you may need to make a drastic move to avoid falling to 5-6 after week 11.

Try this: Target players who have good matchups down the stretch, but that might be easily attainable. For example, if you have week 11 bye week issues, try to make a play for Marshawn Lynch. He is a bit crusty, but he has shown some energy over the last month and gets the Rams in week 11. If that addition could put your week 11 lineup over the top, then do what is needed to land him. Does your depleted stable of backs have a rough set of matchups in week 12? Well, DeAngelo Williams gets the Colts that week, and is a better option than Helu vs. Seattle or Battle vs. Pittsburgh in week 12. Your team is already in a position to make a run, but don’t be afraid to make a move to give you better options down the stretch.

The Stragglers (3-6 records, and worse…): My condolences go out to your Jamaal Charles and Felix Jones backfield, but we can only move forward from here. Although the playoffs could still be possible at 3-6, teams in this range are statistical long shots to reach fantasy glory in 2011. However, that does not mean that “the stragglers” can’t be involved in the trade deadline excitement as well. As long as your trades are not upsetting the integrity of the league (which is covered below), go out and make some deals amongst the other “stragglers” in your league.

Try this: Although your season is on life support, you can still make watching your team enjoyable. Did you miss out on hot waiver pick-ups like Roy Helu and Laurent Robinson? Well, now is the time to go get them. Don’t go crazy and give up Wes Welker for Robinson, but if you love the Cowboys and think Robinson will blow up with Austin out (as I do), then go trade for him. There is no fantasy rule stating that you should sit around and watch your team sink if you start out 2-7. Winning is fun, no matter when it happens. Personally, I take incredible joy in being the 4-8 team that knocks another team out of playoff contention in week 13, so don’t be afraid to stay engaged even if your team is low in the standings.

The Commish: First of all, if you are the commissioner of your league, I applaud you. You have given your buddies/co-workers/random online acquaintances a venue to fulfill their fake football fantasies and for that, you should be proud. Now, as commish, you have one more obligation to your league mates. As the deadline approaches, make sure every team in your league is reminded that the integrity of your league is in their hands. Nothing is worse than watching a 1-8 team trade Arian Foster to a 7-2 team, simply because he doesn’t care about the league anymore. If your league carries a trade “approval vote,” then make sure teams are fully aware of that as well. Nothing demoralizes a league more than an enormous controversy at the trade deadline.

Try this: Hammer out a league-wide bulletin that respectfully reminds all teams that “trade responsibility” is important to maintaining the integrity of your league (this is a pretty dry topic, so please spice the bulletin up with some jokes and take some shots at any 1-8 teams in your league). The point here is to make sure that each team is aware of their responsibility to keep the league competitive and ensure that all trades are well thought out. Not all trades have to be even, as I personally don’t support the trade veto, but no league wants to see Calvin Johnson for Jabar Gaffney at this point in the year.

Good luck in week 10. As always, feel free to leave trade questions in the comments below and don’t be afraid to share your own tactics with the rest of us!

  1. John H says:

    I’m 8-1 in my 12 team PPR and the Andre Johnson owner is 5-4. I’m a little nervous about acquiring yet another injury risk… I’ve got DMC and Miles Austin already. I can get by… my team is crazy deep. But I’d hate to be derailed by injuries. Would Julio Jones and Maurice Morris be a decent offer? Too much, not enough? Or don’t tinker because I’ve got enough risk already?

    WR-Jennings, Wallace, L.Robinson,D.Moore,Julio Jones, Miles Austin
    RB-Sproles, DMC,M.Bush,Maurice Morris, D.Thomas

    We start 3WR, 2RB, TE and a flex.

  2. Fernando says:

    Hi, Jeff. I’m 7-2 (“A Top Dog”). In trades I’ve targeted teams with lower records and teams I would not play for a time in schedule. However, after reading your article I now have a dilemma. I’ve been targeting Foster for trade all season and it’s almost become a joke, because no matter what weekly combination of players nothing happens. At this point his team is 0-9. I don’t want to abuse or make problems in my league, but this week I’ve offered three running backs (S. Jax, Bradshaw, and D. Thomas) for Foster. I was considering doing the same for Rice (owner is 2-6-1). I would like your opinion on this, because your right I don’t want to see a one for one trade like Calvin for Jabar that would cause issues in my league. Thanks.

    My team:
    qb Romo, wr R. White and Manningham; rb Peterson, S. Jackson, F. Gore, Bradshaw, D. Murray, D. Thomas, Battle, te Pettigrew, Celek; K Hanson; Def Eagles, Buff.

  3. lone wolfpack says:

    So, in a dynasty league (keep everyone) I have Run DMC/Bush, Best/Morris, Foster/Tate and Demarco Murray… As well as Andre, Bowe, and Lloyd… The problem is I have Pettigrew at TE. I am the defending champ and I want back2back titles. I have offered DMC/Bush for Gronk and Roddy White. I love Roddy White buying low, but I am unsure if Gronk is smoke and mirrors. The guy wants me to throw in one more player to make it work, I am thinking Breaston or Dickson should do it. What do you think of Gronk?

  4. Cheeeeeze says:

    Dez Bryant and Willis McGahee for Andre Johnson? I have DeMarco Murray, Forte, and McFadden at RB….

  5. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @John H: I think that’s a pretty good offer. your wr would be unreal if you pulled that off. lots of risk though, like you said. Id try it.

    @Fernando: that is more than a fair offer…nobody should be mad about that.

    @lone wolfpack: be careful there…bush is a FA after this year and may go get himself a starting gig. I do like Gronk though. Just keep in mind that Bush could be starting somewhere next season.

    @cheeeeze: That is a fair offer. If you’ve got tho depth go for it.

  6. Trick dad says:

    Im 4-5, depleted by injuries at RB. Should i trade forte for mcfadden & helu? My team
    Qb: ryan, schaub
    Rb: forte , greene, battle, hunter, redman, ridley
    Wr: wallace, maclin
    Te: finley
    We start qb, 2 rb, rb/wr, 2 wr, te

  7. Fernando says:

    Sorry, but just to clarify. Even with those records (0-9 & 2-6-1) you believe it’s still O.K. to target those teams as long as the value is equitable.
    Question #2: response #5 Fernando

    And if anyone else has an opinion please feel free to respond. Thanks Jeff and anyone else that may have something to offer. Good Luck in your leagues.

  8. TRADE says:

    I was offered FJax and A. Brown for my Fitz and DMC in a 12 team standard league. What do you think?

  9. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @trick dad: I’m not sure if I would do that at 4-5. You are going to need victories asap and dmc missing another week could sink you.

    @Fernando: ya if the offer is fair I don’t see an issue. good luck to you as well.

  10. Ro_Bauti says:

    What do you guys think of this trade? 12 team PPR.
    Team #1 gets Welker, BAL defense, and Ringer (junk).
    Team #2 gets S-Jax, Steve Smith(Car), Decker and L. Robinson.

    Teams w/o trade:
    Team#1. RB:Foster, Gore, S-Jax, Beanie. WR:Simth, Nicks, Green, Wayne,
    Decker and Robinson. No DEF. Best available:NE, KC, TEN.

    Team#2. RB:Mendenhall, J-Stew, Ringer. WR:Welker, J. Nelson, Garcon, Brown, Jenkins, Williams(TB). DEF:BAL

  11. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @TRADE: I think that deal is pretty good..especially if you need wins here down the stretch.

  12. Jeff says:

    What do you think of this offer that was given to me?

    12 team standard league

    My Darren McFadden for his Tolbert + Andre Johnson

  13. Wilsonian says:

    I hate Vincent Jackson.

    That is all…

  14. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @Ro_Bauti: Seems like the trade addresses needs for both teams, as team #1 needs WR help and team #2 is struggling with RB. Looks good to me.

    @Jeff: It would depend on what the rest of your roster looks like, but at first glance I think it looks fair.

    @Wilsonian: ha Im with you. And to do it on a Thursday night! Now you have to stare at that score all the way until Sunday. Brutal!

  15. farcus says:

    somehow i’m 8-1 in a 14 team league despite having both jamaal charles and felix jones.

    it helps that charles was a keeper and i grabbed megatron/welker in the first two rounds, and stafford a little later. right now my team is starting to take a little bit better shape as helu finally looks useful, and michael bush is taking care of business in dmc’s absence.

    i think that i can get a-rodg in a stafford package because stafford is eligible to be kept. the only other legitimate keeper options i’ve got right now are helu and bush. can i afford to trust that one of them will make a decent enough keeper option to make up for moving stafford?

  16. Mungfisher says:

    Is Manningham and Helu too low an offer for Andre Johnson? AJ owner has Mendenhall (week 11 bye), Bradshaw (injured), Pierre Thomas (week 11 bye) and Torain (dog house).

  17. Jay says:

    Just traded Decker for Battle as a WK11 fill in for Foster. Do I need to make another move or can I roll with him @NE? 12team, 1ptPPR, nonkeeper

    QB Stafford/RB Foster, McCoy, Battle, Tate, Spiller, Scott/WR JulioJones, LRobinson, MAustin/TE FDavis/FLEX AHernandez/K Rackers/D CIN,PHI


  18. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @farcus: Great question. I think you go for that deal. Bush is a FA after this season, so there is a decent chance he could end up somewhere where he gets more action. Who knows with Helu, but he looks good right now and he’s young. I say pull the trigger, win your title this year and then let the keeper situation figure itself out this offseason.

    @Mungfisher: Start there and see what type of response you get…you can always up the offer.

    @Jay: I think thats a good trade no matter what your week 11 need is. Roll Battle out there, he should be fine.

  19. Rags says:

    Sorry for the following essay, but it’s do or die for me the rest of the way.

    3-6 but only a game out for the division lead. My squad has been hit hard by injuries, Hillis, McFadden, Austin.

    Non-PPR, keeper league.

    I made a bunch of moves with several teams and ended up giving up Megatron and a 5th round pick next year for Turner, AP and assorted crap at WR (Mike Williams TB being the best of that bunch).

    My squad as it stands now (1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1Flex used):

    QB: Eli, Big Ben
    RB: Turner, AP, McFadden, Hillis, Battle, Ringer
    WR: D. Moore, M. Williams South, James Jones, Miles Austin, (and Vincent Brown but I picked him up too late to use).
    TE: Finley
    Def: GB.

    If I lose and my division rival wins, I’m blowing up the team for picks next week ahead of the trade deadline, but still I’d like to win this year.

    I’m trying to unload a QB to somebody, anybody for a WR but nobody’s biting. I can try to sell Hillis or Austin for Pennies on the dollar, but what do you think about trading DMC for AJ Green? Green would cost a 6th round pick next year (McFadden can’t be kept). That way if I lose, I still have value in the trade. Should I ask for a pick, too?

    Also, I can pick up Doucet off the wire, but who would I drop? Brown? Jones? Ringer? I’m holding on to Jones mainly because my rival has Rodgers.

    I’m at my wit’s end trying to find a way to make this season work.

    Thanks for your advice all season!

  20. emceeperiod says:

    The question I have is do u risk missing out on a first round bye to make your team better? If I throw B Marshall out there for AJ, I may not keep my first round bye which is essentially a playoff win. Thoughts?

  21. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @rags: tough situation. since you need the wins and Green has keeper value, I think trading DMC for him is a good move…considering if you lose you’re going to blow it up anyway. You lose DMC either way…he would only hypothetically help you if you win now, which isn’t guaranteed. I say give it a shot.

  22. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @emceeperiod: Fantastic question. That would depend on your standings situation. I agree, the bye is crucial. If you don’t feel you can secure that with your bench receiver replacing Marshall for a couple weeks then hold off. If your replacement is a decent option, Id roll the dice.

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